What it is like living in a Spiritual Community? (Swami Asha Praver from Ananda)
What would it be like living in a spiritual community? Since the late 1960’s Swami Asha Praver has been living and now heads up one of the Ananda Communities located in a 900 acred property in Palo, Alto along with 200 other residents. Join CJ as she dives into the ins and outs of spiritual communal living. Hear from resident David Eby on what it’s like living in the community and raising a family.
- What is a spiritual community? How does work look like? How does money work?
- What are some of the benefits and downside of living in community?
- Why does one choose to live in a community? What is it like to move your family and children to a community?
Why live in spiritual community? (source: http://www.anandapaloalto.org/)
“One of the fundamental needs of our age is for putting down roots again. We have extended ourselves too far outward, away from the Self within, and away from the natural rhythms of the planet on which we live. Even in our outward, human associations we have lost touch with reality. The average person in America today moves fourteen times in his life—not to new homes in the same community, but to different communities altogether. Loneliness has become chronic. Friendships tend to be of the cocktail party and patio barbecue variety, and not the deep bonds that people form as a result of trials and victories shared.
We know people to smile at, but not to weep with, not to confide in, not to go to for help in times of physical, emotional, or spiritual distress. Small, spiritual communities offer a viable alternative to the depersonalizing influences of our times. People living and working together, sharing with one another on many levels of their lives, suffering, growing, learning, rejoicing, winning victories together, they develop a depth in their outward relationships as well that helps them, inwardly, to acquire spiritual understanding.
Cooperative spiritual communities provide a vital solution to one of the most pressing needs of our times—an opportunity for those who want to develop spiritually to do so in a supportive environment, and a dynamic example to the rest of the world that spiritual principles really work.” (From Swami Kriyananda‘s, The Path)
Establishing householder communities was one Yogananda’s most cherished dreams:
“To spread a spirit of world brotherhood among all peoples, and to aid in the establishment in many countries, of self-sustaining world-brotherhood colonies for plain living and high thinking.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda, Aims and Ideals
Swami Kriyananda was deeply inspired by his guru’s vision. He founded the first spiritual community in 1968 in northern California. Hundreds of people live at Ananda Village today. Since then, more communities have been established and are home to 1,000 people worldwide. Communities include: Mountain View, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Assisi (Italy), and several communities in India (New Delhi area, Pune, and Bangalore) Ananda worldwide
Scenes from a recent community Open House, and excerpts from a talk by Swami Kriyananda on living in spiritual community
Video (0:14) (excepted from the complete talk above
About Our Guests
Swami Asha has been a spiritual seeker since she was a young girl. In 1969 at Stanford University, she heard Swami Kriyananda speak for the first time. Instantly, she recognized him as her spiritual teacher. “I knew the moment he walked into the room that he possessed the consciousness I had long been seeking.”
She soon became a founding member of the new community Swami was starting near Nevada City, California, called Ananda Village, based on Yogananda’s dream of world brotherhood colonies for “simple living and high thinking.”
Swami Kriyananda placed Asha in the role of teaching and counseling soon after her arrival at Ananda. She also served as Swami’s correspondence secretary and personal assistant for many years.
In 1987, Swami Asha and her husband, Swami David, became spiritual directors of Ananda Palo Alto in California, where they continue to serve today.
Swami Asha is author of Swami Kriyananda As We Have Known Him, a collection of more than 200 stories by people who have been touched by his teachings and spiritual friendship, often in remarkable ways. She is also author of Loved and Protected: Stories of Miracles and Answered Prayers.
I’ve had the great blessing to be a part of Ananda, and especially the music ministry, for the past 11 years. My wife Madhavi and I lived in the Portland Community for five years, then moved to Ananda Village in 2001.
I have been a professional cellist for many years, and now have the opportunity to serve Ananda’s music in many different areas: as a music director at the Village for the choir and community orchestra, as recording engineer and producer for Crystal Clarity, and as the music director for theAnanda Living Wisdom School.
I’ll be writing about music at Ananda, and of our family life at the Village, which includes our 5 year old daughter, Caitlin.
#yoganandam #kriya yoga, #Ananda, #Swami Asha Praver